Shaken death charges

Teresa Gill has been charged in the death of her son, Kurtis Reed-Miller, stemming from injuries he suffered at 5 months old in 1998.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s office has filed charges against a woman in the death of her son more than 20 years after the injuries that allegedly caused his death took place.

Teresa Ann Gill, 41, was charged late last week with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 20-year-old son, Kurtis Reed-Miller, officials announced Monday.

According to Cumberland County District Attorney Skip Ebert, Reed-Miller died on May 17, 2018, from respiratory failure due to aspiration pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis, an autopsy found. Ebert is alleging that those illnesses were complications of shaken baby trauma that Reed-Miller experienced at the hands of his mother when he was 5 months old, which left him debilitated for the rest of his life.

Ebert said he has “never seen anything like this case” in his decades as a judge and prosecutor.

Gill, who currently lives in Hanover, was living in Carlisle at the time of the 1998 incident. Ebert, who was the county’s DA then as well, charged Gill with assault after her son was brought to the Carlisle hospital unresponsive.

Gill admitted at the time to shaking the baby after an argument with the baby’s father, Christopher Reed, Ebert said. Kurtis was subsequently adopted and raised by the Miller family, in Blair County, and Gill served several years in prison related to the alleged child abuse.

Doctors at Hershey Medical Center did not expect Kurtis to live when he was transferred there for head trauma in 1998, according to Ebert’s records.

“Kurtis Reed-Miller never recovered from the injuries he received in 1998 and remained disabled throughout this entire life,” Ebert said, describing his condition as near-vegetative due to damage to his brain stem suffered from Gill shaking him as a baby.

The affidavit filed by Ebert’s office states that the doctor who conducted Reed-Miller’s autopsy concluded that his condition, and subsequent death, “is a direct result of complications arising from inflicted blunt force injury of the head occurring in June of 1998.”

The case will be unusual to prosecute, Ebert said. It is unclear if the 1998 assault charges constitute a prior record, given that the new charges are an extension of them.

Some may also argue that Gill cannot face another round of charges for an incident that was already adjudicated, Ebert said, but he believes precedent is on his side.

“Courts have definitely ruled in homicide cases that the crime cannot be made out until the victim actually dies, so consequently that first arrest is not a bar to prosecution,” Ebert said.

Gill was denied bail and is being held in the county jail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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Email Zack at zhoopes@cumberlink.com.

Cumberland County/Investigative Reporter

Reporter for The Sentinel.